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CHAPTER XLII.

ENTITLED SURAT AL SHORI (CONSULTATION).

Revealed at Makkah.

INTRODUCTION.


THIS chapter receives its title from what is said in ver. 36 of the believers, "Whose affairs are directed by constutation among themselves." The five single letters at the beginning are used by some as a title of the chapter. Rodwell and Palmer call it the Chapter of Counsel. It might have been called the Chapter of Apology but for the fact that the laboured effort of the Prophet to establish his prophetic claims and to vindicate his Quran from the accusation of forgery brought against it by his enemies is by no means limited to this chapter.

The feature of the chapter just alluded to reveals to us the main design of the author in writing it, while a careful reading of the contents will reveal the following circumstances of the Prophet at this time. (1) He was strongly opposed by his townsmen, and his prophetic pretensions were rejected, especially by the Jewish and Christian portion of his hearers. (2) Though he professed to attest the doctrines of the Bible, and declared himself a believer in all the prophets from Adam to Jesus (vers. 11-14), yet both Jews and Christians hesitated not to call him an impostor (ver. 23), insinuating that their opinion was attested by the fact that no one had ever seen him receive a revelation from God or Gabriel (vers. 50,51). (3) Some of the people, however, had believed in him (vers. 5 and 25), while others, once believers, had become apostates (ver. 15).

Throughout the chapter Muhammad represents himself as simply a preacher, holding himself in no way responsible for the unbelievers, satisfied to vindicate his prophetic claims before the people of Makkah and "to direct them into the right way."


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Probable Date Of the Revelations.

From what has been said above, it will appear that this chapter belongs to Makkah. Its date is fixed by NoŽldeke somewhat later than that of the preceding chapter.

Some writers, as Baidhawi and Umr bin Muhammad, have regarded vers. 22-25 as Madinic, and Jalaluddin, as Syuti (Itqan 35), regards vers. 35-37 as also belonging to Madina. The reasons given, however, do not carry conviction, being based upon the assumption that there could be no reference to almsgiving and prayer in passages revealed before the Hijra.

Principal Subjects.

The Almighty reveals his will to Muhammad . . . 1, 2
Angels intercede with God on behalf of sinful man .. . 3
Muhammad not a steward over the idolaters . . . 4
The Quran revealed in the Arabic language to warn Makkah... 5
God the only helper, creator, and preserver, the all-knowing... 10
Islam the religion of all the former prophets . . . 11-13
Muhammad commanded to declare his faith in the Bible.. . 14
Disputers with God shall be severely punished . . . 15
God only knows the hour of the judgment . . . 16, 17
The Almighty will reward the righteous and the wicked according to their deeds . . .18, 19
Sinners only spared through God's forbearance . . . 20
Rewards of the just and of the unjust . . . 21, 22
Muhammad charged with imposture . . . . . 23
The sovereign God forgives and blesses whom he will. . . 24-27
God's power manifested in his works . . . . 28-33
A true believer's character decided . . . 34-41
The miserable fate of those whom God causes to err ... 42-45
Sinners exhorted to repent before it is too late . . . 46
Muhammad only a preacher . . . 47
God controls all things . . .48, 49
Why God reveals himself by inspiration and through apostles . . .50,51
Muhammad himself ignorant of Islam until he had received the revelation of the Quran ...52, 53


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IN THE NAME OF THE MOST MERCIFUL GOD.

R 1/2.

(1) H.M. A.S.Q. Thus doth the mighty, the GOD reveal his will unto thee; and in like manner did he reveal it unto the prophets who were before thee. (2) Unto him belongeth whatever is in heaven and in earth; and he is the high, the great God. (3) It wanteth little but that the heavens be rent in sunder from above at the awfulness of his majesty: the angels celebrate the praise of their LORD, and ask pardon for those who dwell in the earth. Is not GOD the forgiver of sins the merciful? (4) But as to those who take other gods for their patrons, besides him, GOD observeth their actions: for thou art not a steward over them. (5) Thus have we revealed unto thee an Arabic Quran, that thou mayest warn the metropolis of Makkah, and the Arabs who dwell round about it; and mayest threaten them with the day of the general assembly, of which there is no doubt: one part shall then be placed in Paradise, and another part in hell. (6) If GOD had pleased, he had made them all of one religion; but he leadeth whom he pleaseth into his mercy ; and the unjust shall have no patron or helper. (7) Do they take other patrons, besides him? whereas GOD is the only true patron: he quickeneth the dead, and he is almighty.

R 2/3.

(8) Whatever matter ye disagree about, the decision thereof appertaineth unto GOD. This is GOD my LORD in him do I trust, and unto him do I turn me: (9) the Creator of heaven and earth: he hath given you wives of your own species, and cattle both male and female; by which means he multiplieth you: there is nothing like

(1) H.M.A.S.Q. See Prelim. Disc., pp 100-102.

Reveal. . . unto thee. Comp. chap. xxxix. I. "The Koran was not revealed in the same way as the Law or the Gospel. Neither of them were brought by Gabriel."- Brinckman.

(3) Angels . . . ask pardon for &c. See note on chap. xl. 7.

(5) See note on chaps. xxi. 105 and xli. 44. As yet Muhammad conceived of himself as merely the prophet of Arabia.

(9) Wives of your own species. See notes on chap. xvi. 74.


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him; and it is he who heareth and seeth. (19) His are the keys of heaven and earth; he bestoweth provision abundantly on whom he pleaseth, and he is sparing unto whom he pleaseth; for he knoweth all things. (11) He hath ordained you the religion which he commanded Noah, and which we have revealed unto thee, O Muhammad, and which we commanded Abraham, and Moses, and Jesus: saying, Observe this religion and be not divided therein. (12) The worship of one God, to which thou invitest them, is grievous unto the unbelievers : GOD will elect thereto whom he pleaseth, and will direct unto the same him who shall repent. (13) Those who lived in times past were not divided among themselves, until after that the knowledge of God's unity had come unto them; through their own perverseness: and unless a previous decree had passed from thy LORD, to bear with them till a determined time, verily the matter had been decided between them by the destruction of the gainsayers. They who have inherited the scriptures after them are certainly in a perplexing doubt concerning the same. (14) Wherefore invite them to receive the sure faith, and be urgent with them, as thou hast been commanded; and follow not their vain desires: and say, I believe in all the scriptures which GOD hath sent down; and I am commanded to

(11) In this passage Muhammad claims that his religion is the one true religion revealed from the beginning to all true prophets. This claim is fatal to his own prophetic pretensions; nothing is clearer than this, since Islam contradicts the whole plan of salvation revealed in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. See notes on chaps. ii. 40, 90, 100, iii. 2, iv. 44, 45,162,v. 48-50, &c. For other similar passages, see Index under the word QURAN. See also Prelim. Disc., chap. iv.

(13) They who have inherited, &c. "The modern Jews and Christians."- Sale.

In a perplexing doubt, &c. "Not understanding the true meaning nor believing the real doctrines thereof."- Sale. This is the interpretation of the commentators. The allusion is to the controversies relative to the doctrines of the Sonship of Christ and the Trinity.

(14) I believe in all the scriptures. See above under ver. II.


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establish justice among you: GOD is our LORD and your LORD: unto us will our works be imputed, and unto you will your works be imputed: let there be no wrangling between us and you; for GOD will assemble us all at the last day, and unto him shall we return. (15) As to those who dispute concerning GOD, after obedience hath been paid him by receiving his religion, their disputing shall be vain in the sight of their LORD; and wrath shall fall on them, and they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (16) It is GOD who hath sent down the scripture with truth; and the balance of true judgment: and what shall inform thee whether the hour be nigh at hand? (17) They who believe not therein wish it to be hastened by way of mockery: but they who believe dread the same, and know it to be the truth. Are not those who dispute concerning the last hour in a wide error?

R 3/4.

(18) GOD is bounteous unto his servants: he provideth for whom he pleaseth; and he is the strong, the mighty. (19) Whoso chooseth the tillage of the life to come, unto him will we give increase in his tillage: and whoso chooseth the tillage of this world, we will give him the fruit thereof; but he shall have no part in the life to Come. (20) Have the idolaters deities which ordain them a religion which GOD hath not allowed? But had it not been for the decree of respiting their punishment to the day of separating the infidels from the true believers, judgment had been already given between them: for the unjust shall surely suffer a painful torment. (21) On that day thou shalt see the unjust in great terror, because of their demerits; and the penalty thereof shall fall upon them: ut they who believe and do good works shall dwell in the delightful meadows of Paradise; they shall obtain whatever they shall desire, with their LORD. This is the

(19) Whoso chooseth, &c. "Labouring here to obtain a reward hereafter ; for what is sown in this world will be reaped in the next."- Sale.

Comp. Gal. vi. 8.


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greatest acquisition. (22) This is what GOD promiseth unto his servants who believe and do good works. Say, I ask not of you, for this my preaching, any reward, except the love of my relations: and whoever shall have deserved well by one good action, unto him will we add the merit of another action thereto; for GOD is inclined to forgive and ready to reward. (23) Do they say Muhammad hath blasphemously forged a lie concerning GOD? If GOD pleaseth, he will seal up thy heart: and GOD will absolutely abolish vanity, and will establish the truth in his words; for he knoweth the innermost part of men's breasts. (24) It is he who accepteth repentance from his servants, and forgiveth sins, and knoweth that which ye do. (25) He will incline his ear unto those who believe and work righteonsness, and will add unto them above what they shall ask or deserve, of his bounty: but the unbelievers shall suffer a severe punishment. (26) If GOD should bestow abundance upon his servants, they would certainly behave insolently in the earth: but he sendeth down by measure unto every one that which he pleaseth; for he well knoweth and seeth the condition of his servants. (27) It is he who sendeth down the rain, after men have despaired thereof, and spreadeth abroad his

(22) Comp. chap. xxv. 58,-59.

(23) See chaps. iii. 185, vii. 85 and 203, x. 39, and xi. 14, &c.

He will seal up thy heart. The translation should be He could seal, &c. "The meaning of these words is somewhat obscure. Some imagine they express a detestation of the forgery charged on the Prophet by the infidels; because none could be capable of so wicked an action but one whose heart was close shut, and knew not his Lord: as if he had said, 'God forbid that thou shouldst be so void of grace, or have so little sense of thy duty!' Others think the signification to be, that God might strike all the revelations which had been vouchsafed to Muhammad out of his heart at once; and others, that God would strengthen his heart with patience against the insults of the believers."- Sale, Baidhawi.

And God will absolutely abolish vanity, &c. The translation should be, But God, &c. "Wherefore if the doctrine taught in this book be man, it will certainly fail and come to nothing; but if it be of God, it can never be overthrown."- Sale, Baidhawi


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mercy; and be is the patron, justly to be praised. (28) Among his signs is the creation of heaven and earth, and of the living creatures with which he hath replenished them both; and he is able to gather them together before his tribunal whenever he pleaseth.

R 4/5.

(29) Whatever misfortune befalleth you is sent unto you by God, for that which your hands have deserved; and yet he forgiveth many things: (30) ye shall not frustrate the divine vengeance in the earth; neither shall ye have any protector or helper against GOD. (31) Among his signs also are the ships running in the sea, like high mountains: if he pleaseth, he causeth the wind to cease, and they lie still on the back of the water: (verily herein are signs unto every patient and grateful person): (32) or he destroyeth them by shipwreck, because of that which their crews have merited; though he pardoneth many things. (33) And they who dispute against our signs shall know that there will be no way for them to escape our vengeance.

RUBA.

(34) Whatever things are given you, they are the provision of this present life; but the reward which is with GOD is better, and more durable, for those who believe, and put their trust in the LORD; (35) and who avoid heinous and filthy crimes, and when they are angry forgive; (36) and who hearken unto their LORD, and are constant at prayer, and whose affairs are directed by consultation among themselves, and who give alms out of what we have bestowed on them; (37) and who, when an injury is done them avenge themselves, (38) (and the retaliation of evil ought to be an evil proportionate thereto): but he who forgiveth and is reconciled unto his enemy shall receive his reward from GOD ; for he loveth not the unjust doers. (39) And whoso shall avenge himself, after he

(28) Comp. John ix. 1-3. Muhammad seems to have entertained the error of Job's friends.

(37-39) Avenge themselves. "Using the means which God has put into their hands for their own defence. This is added to com-


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hath been injured; as to these, it is not lawful to punish them for it: (40) but it is only lawful to punish those who wrong men, and act insolently in the earth, against justice; these shall suffer a grievous punishment. (41) And whoso beareth injuries patiently and forgiveth, verily this is a necessary work.

R 5/6.

(42) Whom GOD shall cause to err, he shall afterwards have no protector. And thou shalt see the ungodly, (43) who shall say, when they behold the, punishment prepared for them, Is there no way to return back into the world? (44) And thou shalt see them exposed unto hell-fire; dejected, because of the ignominy they shall undergo: they shall look at the fire sideways and by stealth; and the true believers shall say, Verily the losers are they who have lost their own souls, and their families, on the day of resurrection: shall not the ungodly continue in eternal torment? (45) They shall have no protectors to defend them against GOD; and whom GOD shall cause to err, he shall find no way to the truth. (46) hearken unto your LORD before the day come, which GOD will not keep back: ye shall have no place of refuge on that day; neither shall ye be able to deny your sins. (47) But if those to whom thou preachest turn aside from thy admonitions, verily we have not sent thee to be a guardian over them: thy duty is preaching only. When we cause man to taste mercy from us, he rejoiceth thereat; but if evil befall them, for that which their hands have formerly committed, verily mail becometh ungrateful. (48) Unto GOD appertaineth the kingdom of heaven and earth: he createth that which he pleaseth; (49) he giveth females unto whom be pleaseth, and he giveth males unto whom

plete the character here given; for valour and courage are not inconsistent with clemency, the rule being, Parcere subjectis et debellare sutperbos." - Sale.

See note on chap. ii. 194.

(45) Who forgiveth &c. See chap. v. 49.

(45) Whom God shalt cause to err &c. See notes on chaps. vii. 179, 180, xvi. 95, and xx. 87.


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he pleaseth; or he giveth them males and females jointly: and he maketh whom he pleaseth to be childless; for he is wise and powerful. (50) It is not fit for man that GOD should speak unto him otherwise than by private revelation, or from behind a veil, (51) or by his sending of a messenger to reveal, by his permission, that which he pleaseth; for he is high and wise. (52) Thus have we revealed unto thee a revelation, by our command. Thou didst not understand before this what the book of the Quran was, nor what the faith was; but we have ordained the same for a light; we will thereby direct such of our servants as we please; and thou shall surely direct the them into the right way, (53) the way of GOD, unto whom belongeth whatever is in heaven and in earth. Shall not all things return unto GOD?

(50-51) This was said in answer to those who objected that no one ever saw Muhammad when receiving his revelations from God.

Messenger. See note on chap. ii. 96.

(52) A revelation. "Or, as the words may also be translated, 'Thus have we sent the Spirit Gabriel unto thee with a revelation.' "- Sale.

Thou didst not understand before this, &c. See note on chap. x. 17.


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